Greg Veis: You Tube Hunter Explores the Man Crush

Perhaps the strangest--and certainly the most unwelcome--development of this year's Super Bowl was the reliance on homophobia to move product. Much has already been written on the topic, so I won't cover old ground here, but all the corporate phobing sparked a discussion of the "man-crush" around Hunter HQ. Specifically, who is it acceptable to harbor one for? Jon Stewart seemed to be the #1 answer, with Kris Kristofferson a close two. (That's not a joke. Dude's a serious badass. Plus, he wrote this song and has excellent hair.)

For the uninitiated, a man-crush (n.) occurs, according to, which has clearly supplanted Merriam Webster as the language officiator par excellence, "when a straight man has a 'crush' on another man, not sexual but kind of idolizing him." Is that definition grammatically correct? Absolutely not. But the idea's there. Anyway, although it's dangerous to select a man-crush who isn't terribly well-known since it implies time idly spent daydreaming about the subject (which I haven't!), I'll just out and say it: Damon Albarn is my #1. Yes, he's best known as the lead singer of Blur, who I don't even like that much, but he's so much more. So. Much. More.

He wrote one of the best breakup songs of the last 10 years, he has pushed himself from a certain Britpop fade-out to a multi-dimensional and fully adult musical force, and most in line with this column's purposes, he brainchilded Gorillaz, the best animated rock band in the history of history. (And, uh, not to get all MySpace-y on you, he's got an inimitable coolness and I like the way he looks, but such that it's "not sexual but kind of idolizing." It's possible, and not nearly as fine a distinction as you might think. Really.) (I feel weird.) Okay, enough of that. In honor of Mr. Albarn, and in protest of the Super Bowl's unfortunate homophobic streak, a celebration of the Gorillaz, starting with the "19-2000" video. Like everything Gorillaz, it's animated and there are high jinks:

Whereas the "19-2000" video is straight titillation, this one, for the Grammy Award-winning "Feel Good Inc.," is laced with an undercurrent of menace. The human face in the middle of the cartoon suggests a certain, perhaps NSA-inspired, overlord quality. Am I being paranoid? Check this:  

Two more videos for you, both live. The "Clint Eastwood" one is from their first (of two) tours, and the graphics created by Jamie Hewlett are truly mind-blowing. With the possible exception of The Polyphonic Spree,  there isn't a more imaginative live act in music right now. (Sorry Flaming Lips...excess does not equal inspiration, which, coincidentally, was what my fortune cookie said last night. Between the sheets.)

Clint Eastwood (sorry unable to embed)

This last clip, a live version of "O Green World" from their second (of two) tours, is also wonderful, although please note the difference in stage set-up this go-around. More emphasis on the musicians, and the cartoon aspect focuses more on story-telling than instrument-playing.  

As you're probably aware, there's a lot more Gorillaz on YouTube if you're interested, and the material is certainly worth frittering away a lunch hour on. But I'd like to hear from you, too. Any man-crushes out there? Ladies, any fem-crushes? And so I'm not being hetero-normative: gay men, do you have fem-crushes? Lesbians, man-crushes? Can YouTube clips enhance your case? If so, hit the comments section hard, panda bears. Only through open, same-sex-crush discussion can we combat the damage done by Super Bowl advertisers. 92 million watched the game. About 92 people read this column. Even the longest journey starts with a first step. Or something.

Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

Universal Pictures
Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.


More from mental floss studios